Everyone except the AP declares Al Franken won the Senate seat after a three-judge panel unanimously ratified a 312-vote win. (The wire service preferred “leading vote-getter,” perhaps because he can’t get an election certificate until the state Supreme Court signs off. But the trial verdict seems clear, even if appeal awaits.) The 157 findings of fact add up to a thumping for Norm Coleman; the Strib’s Pat Doyle describes the ruling as “blunt,” and judges “soundly” rejected the Republican’s case.
More Senate: The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger writes that the case was dismissed “with prejudice,” a legal term that means your case stinks can’t be refiled. MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki and Tom Scheck say the jurists emphatically dismissed Coleman’s equal protection argument as lacking under state and federal constitutional standards. AP’s Brian Bakst notes Franken gave his second victory speech outside his Minneapolis condo building (video here) and “may have to do it one or two more times” before the fight is over.
Still more Senate: Franken impishly notes he’d advise Norm to stop fighting, but doesn’t expect his opponent to listen. On KSTP, Coleman again talks of 4,000 absentees not counted (the court sneered that allowing improper ballots would create an “absurd result”) and expresses “great confidence” in a judicial system that has dealt him nothing but defeat so far. He’s coy about a federal appeal; Minnesota Independent’s Chris Steller notes Gov. Pawlenty’s continued hedging on signing an election certificate.
How long will this keep going on? Forum Communications’ Don Davis says a senator won’t be seated for “months.” (Our own Eric Black figures one or two.) The Strib’s Doyle quotes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying he would make no move to seat Franken before the state Supremes rule. Coleman will have to pay some court courts, including Franken’s, but there’s confusion about just how much. WCCO’s Esme Murphy notes today is the 100th without a second senator.
Following up on yesterday’s news about Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen giving to Norm Coleman’s senate campaign (before Dietzen became a judge), the Strib’s Kevin Duchschere and Pat Lopez say Justice Helen Meyer gave $1,000 to Norm’s 2002 opponent Paul Wellstone. (Also before she was elevated.) They quote Coleman saying Dietzen shouldn’t recuse himself, arguing any justice who votes has an equal conflict. Yesterday, I noted Justice Lori Gildea gave $1,000 to Norm’s 1998 guberantorial run.
Pirates: the elusive local angle. KARE11 says a Twin Cities man made contact with his brother who’s been held by Somali buccaneers for nine months. Jeffrey Egbide worried his brother Graham would be killed in retaliation for Monday’s sniper killings of pirate kidnappers. In this case, the captors are keeping Graham alive in hopes of getting $300,000.
One of downtown Minneapolis’ biggest landlords will cut and run, the Strib’s Susan Feyder reports. Brookfield Development, which owns City Center, Gaviidae Common, and RBC Plaza, will sell its holdings this year. The company didn’t explain why, but this is the only market they’re bailing on. Brookfield tried to sell RBC last year and couldn’t. Unmentioned: Brookfield has a multi-million-dollar loan repayment due to the city this year; how will that fare in the dealing?
John Marty’s gurbernatorial announcement is treated with barely disguised disdain; his 1994 pasting by Arne Carlson is recalled and the PiPress’ Jason Hoppin already handicaps the bid a “long shot.” Marty will again handicap (or elevate) himself by taking no money from lobbyists or PACs, and, via the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba, argues a defeat during the Age of Gingrich is different than a bid during the Age of Obama. His straightforward support of gay marriage, tax hikes, and universal health care shouldn’t be anathema to Dems.
St. Paul Congresswoman Betty McCollum will have to pay $4,698 in back taxes for her D.C. condo, but the Strib’s Kevin Diaz says it’s not her fault. District officials say they messed up and gave her a resident’s tax break she didn’t ask for. Roll Call uncovered the error, which also affected other members of Congress.
The Strib’s Rochelle Olson and David Chanen provide Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan’s most stirring defense that his department didn’t cover up Fong Lee’s killing. They claim the two officers involved never rode together so couldn’t collude on alleged gun-planting, and that a hand-to-hand exchange, not an actual pointed gun, was enough to justify the shooting.
While the Strib, via AP, celebrates Wells Fargo’s $3 billion profit, the PiPress, via Bloomberg News, notes the state’s largest bank may need $50 billion to repay the feds and cover loan losses. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is based here. The feds’ “stress test” will prompt the new capital requirements, according to one analyst.
Fox9 has a couple of interesting investigations. Jeff Baillon notes a St. Paul community college frittered away some of a $1 million watchmaking grant on first-class airfare to New York, Florida and Switzerland. The cash came from Rolex, not taxpayers. State auditors hide incriminating info, specifically mentioning the station in an email. The station’s Trish Van Pilsum says a company that skimped on treatment for acutely ill patients has likely reformed under a new name.
Did you know Minnesota gets 7.5 percent of its electricity from wind? I had no idea it was that high, but the PiPress’ Leslie Brooks Suzukamo says it comes amid news that gay-marriage-lovin’, Obama-voting Iowa is racing ahead of us again. Gophers still rank first in percent of power from breezes, but Hawkeyes seem likely to eclipse that soon.
Elsewhere on the alt-energy beat, the Strib’s Neal St. Anthony chronicles the blossoming effort of a bunch of Augsburg folks to commercialize algae-based biofuels. A local company is pumping out 1,000 gallons at $1.20-$1.75 per; ethanol and biodiesel waste oil can also be used for feedstock. This story’s been building for years, and so far the optimism seems justified.
The Strib’s Laurie Blake has a cool story on airbrushing street sweepers that improve water quality. By vacuuming up fine dust, rather than just brushing and scooping it, more heavy metals and other gunk are kept out of the agua. Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Eagan, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, and White Bear Lake are spending an extra $60 grand per sweeper, and other localities seem likely to follow.
Nort spews: The hitting was OK but the Twins pitching was horrid again in an 8-6 home loss to Toronto; Minnesota is 3-5. The Timberwolves showed belated spunk in a 96-94 loss at Dallas; they remain locked in to the sixth lottery spot. As I’ve written before, if you’re not reading Patrick Reusse’s AM1500 columns, you’re missing a treat; today’s missive is a locally specific look at former Detroit Tigers wunderkind Mark Fidrych, who died Monday.